1743] To Horace Mann 319 of any kind of service that you think I can do for you any way. I am quite happy at your thinking Tuscany so secure from Spain, unless the wise head of Eichcourt works against the season; but how can I ever be easy while a provincial Frenchman, something half French, half German, instigated by a mad Englishwoman1, is to govern an Italian dominion! I laughed much at the magnificent presents made by one of the first families in Florence to their young accoucMe. Do but think if a Duke and Duchess of Somerset were to give a Lady Hertford fifty pounds and twenty yards of velvet for bringing an heir to the blood of Seymour ! It grieves me that my letters drop in so slowly to you : I have never missed writing, but when I have been absolutely too much out of order, or once or twice when I had no earthly thing to tell you. This winter is so quiet, that one must inquire much to know anything. The Parliament is met again, but we do not hear of any intended opposition to anything. The Tories have dropped the affair of the Hanoverians in the House of Lords, in compliment to my Lord G-ower. There is a second pamphlet published on that subject, which makes a great noise. The ministry are much distressed on the ways and means for raising the money for this year : there is to be a lottery, but that will not supply a quarter of what they want. They have talked of a new duty on tea, to be paid by every housekeeper for all the persons in their families ; but it will scarce be proposed. Tea is so universal, that it would make a greater clamour than a duty on wine. Nothing is determined ; the new folks do not shine at expedients. Sir Kobert's health is now drunk at all the clubs in the city; they are for having him made a duke, and placed again at the head of the Treasury; but I believe nothing could prevail on LETTER 105.—^ Lady Walpole.